El Jefe

All Aboard Florida Plans Huge Downtown Train Station

All Aboard Florida, a private group that plans to run trains from Miami to Orlando, yesterday unveiled plans for a 25,000-square-foot station in downtown Fort Lauderdale to be surrounded by high-rises and commercial properties.

The plan, shown to a chamber of commerce meeting on Tuesday, could have a dramatic effect on the area north of the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. Construction of the Fort Lauderdale station could begin next year. Service is planned for 2016.

Three other stations are planned, in downtown Miami, West Palm Beach, and Orlando. The station in downtown Miami is planned to be four stories high, to avoid traffic.

The Fort Lauderdale station, like the West Palm one, will have a central platform for boarding. It will take about two hours and 20 minutes for passengers to reach Orlando when the station is complete. Sponsors, who are raising $1.5 billion to build the project, say tickets will cost less than $100.

The station site in downtown Fort Lauderdale is the last one to be chosen. It is across from the downtown bus station and is on the route of a new, proposed trolley. There will be parking for 200 cars.

"It's hard to think of an area that is more geared toward transit-oriented development," Fort Lauderdale City Manager Lee Feldman told the Sun Sentinel.

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Chuck Strouse is the former editor in chief of Miami New Times. He has shared two Pulitzer Prizes and won dozens of other awards. He is an honors graduate of Brown University and has worked at newspapers including the Miami Herald and Los Angeles Times.
Contact: Chuck Strouse